I’ve been flirting with the idea of becoming a vegetarian. Having a meatless diet has never been an attractive option to me before, but for some reason recently, my body has been yearning for more natural and plant-based foods. I’ve also developed an aversion to meat lately. No, I’m not pregnant by the way. I’m just curious about transitioning into a vegetarian-focused diet.
I’ve been studying the benefits of having a vegetarian lifestyle. One of the most helpful articles I read listed the following as some of the many benefits of being a vegetarian:
1. Lower risk of lung and colorectal cancer. A diet filled with fruits, vegetables, and fiber can help reduce the risk of lung disease and related illnesses.
2. Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes. Type 2 Diabetes is becoming more common with the rise of obesity around the world, and vegetarian diets may even prevent this disease by including complex carbohydrates and fiber that help the body manage insulin more efficiently.
3. Healthy skin. Diets rich in water-based and plant foods are a rich source of antioxidants and vitamins-ideal for healthier skin every season.
4. Chemical-free food. Meat-based diets take in animal cells and fats, along with chemicals and byproducts used on the animals during processing. This can include chemicals sprayed on the dead animal, preservatives, and other unnatural ingredients used for packaging and mass distribution.
5. Hormone-free eating. Unlike many meats we buy at the grocery store, fruits, vegetables, and soy products are not injected with growth hormones and “fillers” that may harm the human body.
6. Increased energy. With the body spending less time digesting animal protein, an energy boost is a nice side effect.
7. Lower blood pressure. Vegan and vegetarian diets can be naturally low in fat and sodium, helping reduce blood pressure and improve circulation instead.
8. Improved digestion. Plant-based foods and fresh fruits are rich in fiber, improving the digestion and elimination process.
9. Lower risk of Diabetes. Steady blood sugar is easily achieved with a nutritious vegetarian diet. The cycle of blood sugar peaks and crashes is almost eliminated without the meat and unhealthy carb combinations.
10. Lower grocery shopping bills. By shopping the perimeter of the grocery store and stocking up on high-fiber, highly nutritious food, vegetarians can eliminate almost 25% of their food budgets without pounds of meat on the bill. In some cases this balances out if the vegetarian shopper chooses to buy premium vegetable brands and gourmet ingredients, but average costs do tend to be much lower per trip.
11. Toxin-free food. Some studies suggest that when animals experience fear, the adrenaline rush causes a release of epinephrine, steroids, and other stress hormones into the bloodstream. These are then ingested by the meat eater, presenting a range of toxins that can accumulate in the blood.
12. Healthy amino acids. Plant-based proteins (e.g. soy) can be an excellent source of amino acids that help with protein assimilation and metabolism.
13. Low or no saturated fat. Vegetarian menus typically use all-natural oils and cooking methods to enhance flavor. This is free of unhealthy saturated fat which can lead to a variety of heart problems and cardiovascular disease.
14. Increased life span. With the body in harmony and free of harmful toxins and chemical buildup, vegetarians may live longer than their fellow meat eaters.
15. Appreciation for simple flavors. After eliminating meat from the diet, it becomes much easier to differentiate flavors and get a real taste for fruits and vegetables. Palettes can become much more sensitive to different flavors, textures, and combinations.
16. Healthy cholesterol levels. Without unhealthy meat and fat sources in the diet, cholesterol levels of vegetarians can be considerably lower and easily fall into a healthy range.
17. Lower risk of cancer. With a diet rich in antioxidants, phytochemical, and vitamins, vegetarians naturally lower their risk of cancer and other diseases. Meat eaters, especially those that indulge in fatty meats are at a much higher risk of cancer.
Just reading this list once makes me even more convinced and inspired to learn how to become a vegetarian!
To explore this new chapter of my life, I will be entering several posts in the future about how I’m learning to become a vegetarian. Here are some of the questions I will examine:
- How do I become a vegetarian?
- Should I gradually lean into becoming a vegetarian? Or just give up meat all at once?
- Once I’ve eliminated meat from my diet, will my body experience withdrawals?
- What does a vegetarian grocery list look like?
- Will my vegetarian meals still be satisfying?
- How do I supplement protein and iron in my diet?
- Should I also only feed my toddler vegetarian meals? How will having a vegetarian lifestyle affect my child?
- What are the good “starter” vegetarian recipes I should try first?
- What if I only eat lean meat like turkey, chicken breast and fish? Will this be a more satisfying alternative to being a complete vegetarian? In other words, instead of converting to a meatless diet, is having a “less meat” diet just as healthy?
- Or does eliminating meat completely from my diet really that much healthier?
- What about becoming a vegan?
- What are the added benefits of having a non-dairy diet in conjunction with vegetarianism? Should I consider having a non-dairy diet in addition to a vegetarian diet to really optimize my health?
- What are the most helpful books, websites and magazines for vegetarians?
- Can I really make the commitment to becoming a vegetarian?
I look forward to learning all the answers to my very curious questions about vegetarianism.
I’m not quite sure (yet) how to become a vegetarian, how to maintain a being a vegetarian, or if I will even like the vegetarian lifestyle.
What I do know for sure is that I want to live a long and healthy life so I can grow old and gracefully with my husband but also more importantly, so I can be an example of healthy and abundant living for our son. For these profound reasons, vegetarianism is certainly worth exploring.
Please come back regularly as I share with you my journey to becoming a vegetarian!
- How did you transition towards a vegetarian lifestyle?
Share your story, your story matters.